2017-09-14 / News

Unemployment assistance should be available to counties impacted by Irma

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said he’s been assured by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta that assistance will be available for Georgians disrupted by Hurricane Irma.

Often after a natural disaster, com­panies are closed for days or weeks. When that happens, employees can lose income for extended periods.

Butler said help can be made available through Disaster Un­employment Assistance (DUA), a program administered here by the Georgia Department of Labor. Eligible workers can get as much as $330 a week for up to 26 weeks if they are unable to return to work due to damage from Hurricane Irma.

The determination of DUA eli­gibility will be made only after the storm hits, damage is assessed and a federal disaster has been declared by the President.

“The heavy damage that results from natural disasters often forces businesses to close for repairs, leav­ing owners and employees without income,” said Butler. “These federal unemployment benefits help provide a financial bridge until their income resumes.”

DUA differs from regular state unemployment insurance in that it provides benefits to people who are self-employed, farmers, diver­sified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees, and others who are not eligible under the state’s program.

Commissioner Butler said his department stands ready to assist both employers and employees in the wake of landfall from Irma. The department has established toll free numbers for employers (1-855-436- 7365) and employees (1-877-709- 8185) seeking help to call.

“We want to make a difference for any Georgia company or worker dis­rupted by the storm,” Butler said.

Directions have also been placed on the departmental website, dol. georgia.gov.

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